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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 5

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 5 of the NFL season.

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Week 5 Risers

Jameis Winston (QB, TB)

When you light up the New York Football Giants, I pay you no mind. When you go into Los Angeles and stomp the Rams' faces in, you get recognition. Jameis Winston is still not a good quarterback. He proves it time and time again and did so last week with his bonehead pick six to keep the Rams alive late in the fourth quarter. But for fantasy purposes, Winston lit it up. He has thrown for over 380 yards in consecutive games and now has seven touchdowns against two picks in his last two. The upcoming schedule is not easy with a trip to New Orleans and a home date with Carolina, but Winston has just proven that he can overcome good defenses. With a top five receiving duo at his disposal, Winston is starting to live up to the fantasy hype.

Will Dissly (TE, SEA)

After being a nice streamer for two weeks, Will Dissley has emerged into an every week TE1 with 50 yards and touchdowns in three straight games. Even with the Seahawks always looking to run, Dissly finds a way. Russell Wilson looks for Dissly in the end zone and despite his lack of athleticism, Dissly is a reliable set of hands and benefits from being on an empty pass catching corps beyond Tyler Lockett. If nothing else, his existence allows you to constantly exclaim, "New Phone, Who Dissly?"

Courtland Sutton (WR, DEN)

Emmanuel Sanders' story is a nice one and it is overshadowing the second year breakout of Courtland Sutton. Through four games, Sutton has yet to see fewer than seven targets. He's reached double digit fantasy points three times and finally found the end zone last week. Obviously having footballs thrown to him by Joe Flacco is less than ideal, but Sutton is proving that the talent is there. I see no reason that the targeting would change and if the QB play even improves a little bit, Sutton could be an every week WR2.

Allen Robinson (WR, CHI)

This one is short and simple. Allen Robinson's value goes up as long as NOT Mitch Trubisky is starting at quarterback. ARob caught all seven of his targets last week and looked so much more in sync with Chase Daniel. The schedule isn't the easiest, but he's faced a murderer's row of elite cornerbacks in three of his first four games (sorry Josh Norman, it's not 2015 anymore). A matchup against the Raiders this week is Robinson's first true smash spot of the season.

Leonard Fournette (RB, JAX)

After four games, Leonard Fournette has yet to post a fantasy output below double digits. He has also yet to score a touchdown. Fournette touched the ball 31 times last week and leads the league with a 96.9% opportunity share. He is dominating touches and snaps in the Jaguars' backfield like no one else. Eventually, the usage will turn into scores. Fournette hasn't been particularly efficient. His 2.12 yards created per carry is largely bolstered by two long runs, but it doesn't matter. The volume is there. The touchdowns will come.

Kerryon Johnson (RB, DET)

Similar to Fournette, Kerryon Johnson is now dominating his backfield as well. With C.J. Anderson's departure, the backfield has been turned over to Kerryon. There is no split with Ty Johnson - he serves purely has a breather back. Kerryon touched the ball 28 times last week. He has now posted three straight games with double digit fantasy points, but the touchdowns have also been lacking. Given his status as the unquestioned goal line back, the touchdowns are on their way, especially as the Lions look like a competent offense once again.


Week 5 Fallers

Tom Brady (QB, NE)

To be clear, Tom Brady is not suddenly a bad fantasy option. He is here as a reminder to everyone that Tom Brady the elite fantasy quarterback did not suddenly return at age 42 after three big games on the running Patriots. Brady is still susceptible to elite defenses and showed that against the Bills. He is also subject to the whim of Bill Belichick. If the Patriots decide to rush for all their scores, Brady is going to have a bad time. The silver lining is the schedule is a joke with the Redskins, Giants, Jets, Browns, and Ravens before the bye.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)

There is no way to sugarcoat this. JuJu Smith-Schuster is heading precariously toward bust territory in 2019. There are multiple factors contributing to this. Ben Roethlisberger's injury didn't help. And it sure looks like JuJu is struggling as the primary guy without Antonio Brown to take coverage away from him. More evidence of that fact is in Diontae Johnson's mini breakout the past two games as the "other guy." Marlon Humphrey completely erased Odell Beckham last week. That's what JuJu has on tap next. JuJu has bailed out his fantasy days with splash plays and has mostly been a floor guy. The floor dropped last week as he caught just three balls for the second consecutive game, this time only amassing 15 yards. It is time to accept that JuJu is, at best, a mid WR2.

Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool can't get fooled again! Every year, without fail, Sammy Watkins does something to make us think he's the same highly touted Clemson prospect. Every year, without fail, Sammy Watkins spends the majority of the season reminding us that he's not all that good at football. The Chiefs are averaging over 30 points a game. After Watkins' Week 1 explosion, he has barely been a WR3. He went 9-198-3 in Week 1. He's gone 14-167-0 in the three games since. If you sold Watkins high, good on you. For those of you that still have him, hopefully he pops this week and you can try and sell him, but with Tyreek Hill no more than three weeks away, I can't imagine Watkins is a desirable asset.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

Sometimes you have to go after the low hanging fruit. Austin Ekeler is an obvious faller, but I would be remiss to exclude him because of it. We all know that Melvin Gordon returned last week. He didn't play, but he was never supposed to play. He was only active because the Chargers needed a warm body after Justin Jackson's Thursday practice injury. Gordon is going to return to a prominent role this week and I would expect him to reclaim his 60-70% opportunity share by Week 6. Ekeler is going to be fantasy viable, but he will not be the elite RB1 he's been through four games.



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